College Basketball Preview: North Florida at South Carolina

It is that time of year again and college basketball is only hours away.

One matchup on Friday will feature North Florida against South Carolina in Columbia. These are two teams with high hopes for this season. North Florida is finally making a name for itself in the basketball arena. Several preseason polls have predicted the Ospreys to win the Atlantic Sun title which would give them a berth to the NCAA tournament.

North Florida has an exceptional group of talent on their squad with three main starters returning who can catapult their offense into high gear. However, the Ospreys defense is barely comparable in size to other teams in the Atlantic Sun Conference and any other conference in the country for that matter. They will be starting four players 6-6 or taller while South Carolina will be much smaller.

Shamiek Sheppard, a 6-6 wing, torn his ACL and will not return until next season. The Gamecocks are young, with only one senior on the roster, and there has only been room for growth this off-season. Duane Notice, a sophmore, is coming off of a very impresive freshman season. Averaging 8.2 points per game last year, he needs to come out of the gates against North Florida with a flawless game.

There needs to be no letting down here for the Gamecocks if they want to start the season off 1-0. While many believe this a mismatch from the beginning, it could not be farther from the truth. North Florida is a program on the rise, and a win in Columbia would validate them as a major program.